True or false? Organic fruits and vegetables don’t need to be washed. According to my husband, the answer is true. But he would be…WRONG! All produce should be properly cleaned if you want to consume vitamins and minerals, not dirt and contaminants. And that’s why I love this easy pesticide, bacteria and dirt removal spray.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t buy all my produce organic. I know organic is ideal. But it’s super expensive. And so I save my organic dollars for produce that tests high for toxicity.
But you can be exposed to contaminants even when buying organic. There’s air pollution, toxins in the water and other unaccounted for contaminants. Not to mention the potential for bacteria and food-borne illnesses. Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy organic. It just means you should properly clean your food.
When you’re being good to your health.
I enjoy healthy food. But let’s face it. Part of why I eat vegetables is to protect my body. Vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of disease.
But exposure to contaminants is associated with an increased risk of disease. So produce that absorbs more toxins can be a double edged sword. Here are just some diseases for which pesticide exposure leads to increased risk:
- Heart Disease
Food preparation is key
How you prepare your produce is integral to the health benefits it provides. Here are some tips to prepare your produce to get the best bang for your nutrition buck.
- Eat both cooked and raw veggies. There’s benefit to eating both.
- Cook your veggies to the point where they’re still crunchy. Once a vegetable becomes soggy, it loses much of its nutrient potential.
- Clean your vegetables right before use. Storing fruits and veggies while wet can speed up their decay.
- Keep up with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list released every year. Always purchase the dirty dozen items organic if possible.
- Wash produce thoroughly before using it. Fruits and vegetables can’t fully do their health promoting work if they make your body fight against toxicity.
Other DIY cleaning options
You can soak your produce for pesticide, bacteria and dirt removal. Plan to let your vegetables soak for 15 minutes to a half hour. A really easy vegetable soak is:
- 2 cups purified water
- ½ cup white vinegar
Make sure to use a vegetable brush to scrub any vegetables with thicker skins. Don’t be too rough though. You don’t want to tear the skin. And remember to be gentle with fragile produce like leafy greens and berries.
But let’s admit it. Vegetable sprays make pesticide, bacteria and dirt removal super easy. Store shelves are filled with different options. But I prefer making my own. It’s cheaper. And I have complete control over the ingredients. Plus, I never run out because the ingredients are ones that I ususally already have on-hand.
DIY spray for pesticide, bacteria and dirt removal
- 2 cups warm, purified water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Add warm water and salt to the spray bottle and shake immediately to help salt dissolve. Add vinegar and lemon juice.
Spray generously on produce. Gently scrub spray into thicker skinned fruits and veggies. Let sit for 1 to 3 minutes so the spray can be absorbed. Gently rinse before using. This should work for most produce. But leafy greens are best to clean by the soaking method.
The vinegar and lemon juice are effective at removing bacteria. The salt helps with the removal of pesticides and bugs. And between the two, you have a really effective cleaning spray.
How I got my husband to clean his veggies
If I give my husband an easy, spray bottle solution for pesticide, bacteria and dirt removal, he’ll actually use it. I think it helps to get men to clean veggies if you give them things that remind them of a video game. Shooting things is fun. Even if it’s just fruits and vegetables.
So I always try to keep a batch of this DIY spray on hand. And when I run out, making more is easy. And I feel good having produce that not only nourishes, but truly protects my health for now, and for my future years as well.
Do you wash your produce before using it? What’s your favorite method?